Putrajaya seeks extra RM5.99b funding
The government is seeking RM5.99 billion in additional expenditure under Budget 2015 amid a fall in revenue due to depressed oil prices. Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Chua Tee Yong yesterday tabled a supplementary supply bill to augment its Budget 2015 by an additional RM3.31 billion, barely two months after the Budget 2016 recalibration. The bulk of the requested amount — RM2.33 billion — will be channelled into statutory funds, while the rest will be allocated to the urban wellbeing, housing and local government, foreign and transport ministries, Parliament and the prime minister’s department. The government is also seeking another RM2.29 billion of liabilities and a motion for RM391 million in development expenditure under Budget 2015 be passed by Parliament. According to economists, it was normal for the government to table supplementary supply bill, but it was not a good practice as it shows the government did not do proper budget planning. (The Edge Markets)

At least 30 dead in Brussels bombings
A series of deadly explosions rocked Brussels yesterday, targeting the Belgian capital’s main airport and metro system. Attackers set off two bombs, which contained nails, at the Zaventem airport, and another bomb went off at the Maelbeek metro station not long after. A third undetonated bomb was found and destroyed by security services at the airport. Belgian officials said the bombings at Zaventem airport and the Maelbeek metro station killed at least 30 people and injured more than 230 others. Belgian police are on the hunt for an Islamic State (ISIS) suspect that accompanied two other suspected suicide bombers. (CNBC)

Chaos inside Brussels airport after two consecutive explosions that left over 20 people dead and scores injured. (Photo from Telegraph UK)

Chaos inside Brussels airport after two consecutive explosions that left over 20 people dead and scores injured. (Photo from Telegraph UK)

Ringgit strengthens to 4.00 against US dollar
The ringgit has strengthened to as high as RM3.98 to US$1, the first time since August last year that it has traded below the pyschologically important four level. The FTSE Bursa Malaysia KL Composite Index climbed 6.39 points to 1,724.75 points – its highest in more than seven months. The ringgit was last traded at 4.0097 against the US dollar yesterday, up 1.2% from 4.058 on Monday. The ringgit is the best-performing currency in South-East Asia this year, gaining more than 7%; however, it lost some 23% in value against the greenback last year. An economist said that while the rise was a “good sign”, it would continue to exhibit volatility for a while, in tandem with the volatility in crude oil prices. (The Star Online)

Malaysia’s future tallest skyscraper to contribute to 2019 office oversupply
Malaysia’s tallest skycraper, Merdeka PNB118, will contribute to the oversupply of office space in the Kuala Lumpur central business district when it is completed by 2019, said property expert Y.Y. Lau. The tower will join other huge integrated projects such as TRX, Bandar Malaysia and KL Metropolis and add to the supply that outstrips demand by 2019. Whether demand can catch up with this influx of office space, depends on how the market is going to drive demand in the next few years. According to data provided by JLL’s research team, new offices totalling 4.8 million square feet will flood the city’s CBD area in 2019 when projects such as TRX’s Signature Tower are completed, while an average of about 1 million square feet of office space are expected to be added on annually in the same area over the next three years. (The Malay Mail Online)

State govt, private companies urged to work together to provide affordable homes
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has urged state governments to provide land at a lower premium in a move to provide affordable housing for youths. He said a good working relationship between the state government and private companies can encourage developers to provide houses below the market price, citing a recent project in which the developer had built homes on Pahang state land and sold at RM175,000 instead of the RM300,000 market value. Under Budget 2016, an allocation of RM1.6 billion has been channelled to housing projects throughout the country. (Astro Awani)

Pesona Metro JV secures RM313.85mil teaching hospital project
Pesona Metro Holdings Bhd (PMHB) and its JV partners have bagged a RM313.85 million contract for the construction of Universiti Sultan Zainal Abidin (UniSZA) teaching hospital in Terengganu. The proposed project is scheduled to be completed within 182 weeks. (The Sun Daily)

Kerjaya Prospek unit bags RM181mil dredging contract
Kerjaya Prospek Group Bhd’s (formerly known as Fututech Bhd) 70%-owned subsidiary, Future Rocks Sdn Bhd, has secured a RM181.31 million dredging works contract from China Communications Construction Company (M) Sdn Bhd. The contract is under package one of the reclamation for the Seri Tanjung Pinang (phase two) development in Penang. The contract is the company’s first of such infrastructure projects, as it has largely been involved in high-rise construction works. (Bernama)